The Diary: Julian Assange; David Fincher; Coen Brothers; Polly Stenham; David Shrigley

 

Julian of the opera

It has melodrama and scandal, secrets and lies, and, at its heart, a memorably flawed hero. Now the Wikileaks saga is to become an opera. Last month, Opera Australia held secret workshops in Melbourne for a new piece based on the life of Julian Assange (above left). The creation of OA's artistic director Lyndon Terracini – one-time neighbour of Assange in Lismore, New South Wales – the opera has a score by the young composer Jonathan Dreyfus and comes with the blessing of the Wikileaks founder.

At this stage, details are swathed in secrecy, but Terracini reveals: "I can tell you that I came up with the idea and engaged some pretty 'out there' guys to develop something to workshop. That's all we have at this point in time. We're looking at how we actually do it."

One of the "out there" guys was Eddie Perfect, a singer and comedian who previously gave voice to Shane Warne in a musical version of the cricketer's life. So, who is more enjoyable to sing – Assange or Warney? "Assange is a greater challenge because his personality is filtered through the media and we rarely see the "human" side. He's also more subdued. Withdrawn, geekish, driven, perhaps a little arrogant," Perfect tells me. "I really like him though. Warney is all exterior and rarely self-reflective. Assange is all interior."

The many take club

Is David Fincher the new Stanley Kubrick? According to Robin Wright, who stars in his upcoming The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the director thinks nothing of shooting the same scene up to 90 times to get his take. "He shoots for nine months and it shows. On the set you literally do 87 takes, picking up a glass, and each one is different. He'll just keep the camera rolling and... you can go for 40 minutes," said the actress at Doha Tribeca Film Festival. "He doesn't call 'cut'. He'll give you a different adjective every time you pick up the glass... You just have to stop thinking and react. He is a machine." Kubrick is reputed to have required 127 takes for a scene involving Shelley Duvall in The Shining so, really, Wright got off lightly.

No credit for the other Coen

They alternate top billing on their films, but the latest project from the Coen Brothers will have only one name below the title. Later this month, three one-act plays by Ethan Coen premiere in New York in an Atlantic Theatre Company production, starring Amanda (daughter of Randy) Quaid. Happy Hour, a trio of dark comedies about a bitter barfly, a lonely young couple and a suicidal businessman, comes with the Coen-esque tag line, "Your life could be worse". Another of Coen's dramas, Talking Cure, is currently running on Broadway as part of Relatively Speaking, alongside one-act plays by Woody Allen and Elaine May. The brothers have just finished filming a remake of the 1966 art heist Gambit, starring Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth in New Mexico and London. Perhaps they just need a little time apart.

Urban gothic

There was a chance to see new work by Polly Stenham at the nabokov art club's Festival of the Dead last weekend. At midnight, Hallowe'en revellers at Battersea Arts Centre gathered in the entrance hall to watch a high priestess begin the "ritual". Though hard to judge the merits of Stenham's script (it had been translated into gothic-sounding Romanian), the piece reached a suitably dramatic sacrificial climax, involving aerial gymnastics and a UV rave. Stenham was introduced to nabokov's artistic director Joe Murphy by the playwright Simon Stephens. "Polly was attracted to the idea of a collaborative piece rather than sitting in a room writing on her own," says Murphy. "We're hoping to take the piece to a festival and are working on more projects."

Surreal cooking show

David Shrigley, best known for his cartoon vignettes of modern life, has written an opera. Pass the Spoon premieres at Glasgow's Tramway this month and is a surreal take on a TV cookery show, featuring a singing banana, a glum egg and a giant dung beetle. The artist hopes to tour it to QEH in London to coincide with his exhibition at the Hayward next year, which will include several new large works and films and an animation about a drummer. He last showed there as part of Laughing in a Foreign Language in 2008. "The problem with that show was that as soon as you say something is about humour, it instantly becomes not funny," he says.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits